Why do groomsmen wear wedding buttonholes? We give you the background on their history and some ideas for designing your own.

A thistle used as a buttonhole decoration

Origins and traditions

The tradition of wedding buttonholes, as with all wedding flowers, originates from ancient Greece.

The male wedding party members would wear a small bunch of flowers, usually mixed with fragrant herbs, pinned close to their heart in order to ward off evil spirits. It was believed that these evil spirits would cause the groom to turn his heart against the bride and refuse to love her.

Buttonholes travelled to England during Medieval times. Knights of the realm would wear their lady’s colours upon their chest to show their everlasting love and commitment.

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Even without their armour, these colours would be displayed on their left lapel, just as they are still worn by grooms today.

Budget lapel blooms


While a simple rose or carnation was good enough for the job 10 years ago, now we’re seeing much more exotic flowers being used to pretty up outfits, such as lilies, orchids and even funky new snowberries!

Planning a vintage wedding? The relatively inexpensive Gypsophila is a fabulous choice, with its delicate, small white flowers. For more fabulous wedding flower trends check out our recent blog by Amy from WOOKIE flowers and get your buttonholes sorted in seconds!

Today’s brides on a budget are still keen to keep wedding buttonholes as a stylish accessory to their groom’s and guests’ outfits. In order to keep the tradition alive, and still cut costs, DIY buttonholes are becoming more and more popular.

Wedding buttonholes out of wrapped-up sheets of old novels are perfect for a vintage theme. Incorporating small toys like action figures or Lego characters into the buttonholes is a fab and quirky wedding idea that’s perfect for big kids and little ushers.

Artificial flowers are also a great way to slash your wedding flower budget – and having an artificial buttonhole means it will last forever as a reminder of your special day.